Happy First Birthday, Abigail!

My little baby is now a one year old! The time has flown by even faster the second time around.

Abigail is a very sweet, curious, active, and silly girl. Here are some of her traits and quirks at the age of one:

She likes to put on things like socks and hats and shoes. If she sees shoes on the floor, she will try to put them on her feet, or if they’re adult-sized, she’ll settle for wearing them on her hands and sliding around the floor on hands and knees. When she sees her own shoes, she insists on wearing them. Socks are also a frequent target.

She still puts a lot of things in her mouth. She especially likes to find tiny pieces of whatever on the floor to put in her mouth. Although I vacuum often, it’s impossible to keep up! I have to watch her closely to keep her from eating things she shouldn’t. She also likes to put things in her mouth that stretch the limits of what her mouth should be able to hold, like a ping-pong ball. (Little weirdo.)

She is becoming more vocal, and makes all sorts of silly sounds. Her and Cody spur each other on in making loud and silly noises, then cracking each other up laughing. She doesn’t say any words regularly, even though she has said “mama” and “dada” a few times.

She hit two milestones before her first birthday: her first teeth finally emerging, and her first independent steps. She now has two front bottom teeth just peeking out, and it looks like her two front top teeth will be next. As for walking, she doesn’t use it as a primary way of getting around yet, but she thinks it’s super fun to stand up, take a few steps, and bask in our adoration.

She loves dancing to music she likes, usually something with a beat. Her trademark move is to twist side to side with her arms out and elbows crooked. More recently, she’s been experimenting with some foot-stomping. 🙂

Abigail is still quite clingy, but she is more willing to go to other people to be held than Cody was at this age. She accepts brief separations from us with little fussing. Cory and I can attend church services together, go on date nights, and let family members help us with the kids when we get together! It’s a treat.

Around the house on a daily basis, it’s unpredictable whether Abigail will want me to hold her all day or perhaps play independently for some of the time, allowing me to get stuff done. The first kind of day is hard, because I’m very task-oriented and being handicapped by a baby demanding to be held constantly is frustrating. The second kind of day is less common, and very appreciated. It will be nice as she gets older to see her become more and more independent, and get a little bit more of my own time back.

Part of Abigail’s clinginess is her habit of grabbing the shirt of whoever is holding her. She almost always has one hand fastened tightly to the neckline of my shirt. It’s becoming more common for her to take it a step further and shove her hand right down my shirt. This can be annoying when we’re in public and she nearly exposes me to the world. I also have to put my foot down when she starts getting a little too “touchy feely.” (Here’s one of the weird things I’ve had to say all too often as a parent: “Stop touching my nipple!”)

Unfortunately, Abigail’s naps are not very good. She takes only one nap most days. ONE. At this age, Cody was just transitioning from three to two naps. Abigail is already down to one, and I fear for what lies ahead. Her one nap isn’t anywhere near the luxurious three hour naps Cody used to take up to the age of three. Nope, she’ll give me an hour on a good day. (Maybe up to two hours on a marvelous day, but sometimes only 40 minutes on a not-so-great day).

Even that one nap is often a struggle. She usually falls asleep nursing or in the carrier, and I attempt to move her to her bed. We recently bought a crib for her (the first crib we’ve ever used, since Cody never had one). We put her down there for her naps, and we reserve the right to plop her in there at bedtime if she decides to pull another midnight wake-up party.

On a happier note, she is an excellent eater. She eats many foods, and is not picky. Almost anything we set in front of her, she will eat enthusiastically. Of course we have to serve her foods that are soft enough for her, and cut into small enough pieces, since she only has two tiny front teeth. But that doesn’t stop her from being a little foodie! It’s so lovely to see our child happily eating fruits and vegetables. Cody didn’t eat ANY solid food until he was two years old, and even now at almost-four, he doesn’t eat fruits or vegetables except on a rare occasion. So suffice it to say, it’s wonderful to see Abigail enjoying food so much at this age.

That’s pretty much it! Abigail is a joy, and seems to only get cuter by the day.

 

 

Happy First Birthday, my sweet girl! Mommy and Daddy and brother love you sooo much! You are my treasure.

 

Happy 11 Months Birthday, Abigail!

Abigail is now 11 months old. I. Just. Can’t. I know I say this every time, but it’s going too fast!

This month, she has really started showing a passion for climbing. She climbs on the kids’ table, any chairs that are short enough for her, and the slide. She climbs into baskets, toy boxes, and dog crates. She climbs onto the bed and couch, and climbs down by herself. (Usually we help her because she’s not as proficient as we would like yet). She can stand up on her own with no support, and she walks around with support. She sometimes uses a kids’ chair as a walker.

When she’s not climbing, she’s searching for tiny things on the floor to show us. She holds them up proudly for us to see, right before putting them in her mouth. Obviously, she keeps us on our toes! She also likes to sit next to the bookshelf, tear all of the books off, and then pick one up and flip through the pages. Fortunately, they’re board books, so they’re sturdy.

She loves our cats. Cody was more into the dogs, but Abigail isn’t as fond of them. She tolerates them, but never seeks them out and occasionally will be upset if they get too in her face. The cats, on the other hand, are her jam. She crawls after them, tries to pet them, watches them, and generally just feels happier when she’s around them. She even tries to say our cat’s name, Luna. (She says “Una.”) I guess dog-person/cat-person is a trait determined at birth!

She loves food, too. Very different from Cody, who didn’t eat any solid foods until he was two years old and even to this day is extremely limited in what he will eat. Abigail is all about food. She will happily try anything we put in front of her, and she almost always likes it. We feed her baby finger foods and soft table foods, since she doesn’t have any teeth. She likes to self-feed, so we don’t often feed her purees.

This month she had her first trip to the beach, and she loved it. She loves trying to eat the sand, and having us dip her feet into the ocean water. She’s also been to the zoo several times. She doesn’t get it yet, of course, but it’s a fun activity for our family.

One detail I forgot to mention in a previous post was that she moved out of her infant car seat to a convertible car seat, still rear-facing of course, at about 9 ½ months old. She’s been more content in the car since the switch, and overall she is a great passenger. We don’t do a lot of driving or long trips, but for errands around town she does great and rarely cries.

She is still very clingy, and I spend a lot of time holding her. It can be challenging to get anything done! But, she also loves to play and explore, so it’s often a matter of taking advantage of those moments. She goes into the nursery at church on Sundays and does well, which is awesome! She will usually let other people hold her, but once she sees me again, it’s all over. She’s less mom-focused now at least, and doesn’t have as strong of a preference for me over her dad. In fact, she crawls to him and asks to be picked up as soon as he comes home every day! Then she snuggles on his chest. So sweet!

Opposite Day

I love the fruit of the spirit. In the Bible, we are given a list of characteristics that the Holy Spirit is supposed to produce in us. These characteristics are the Fruit of the Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

I love this part of the Bible because it gives me a clear goal for what I should be working towards as a follower of Christ. I should be living in such a way, and inviting the Holy Spirit into my life on a daily basis, so that these traits are visible in my life.

But sometimes, I think it’s easy to see a list like this and think that it seems too unattainable. I’ll never be a person who embodies all of these traits all of the time. It can be somewhat discouraging.

One thing I like to do to combat that is to look at the opposites of these words. When I frame it in this way, as a list of things I should avoid being and doing, it can actually make it easier to pursue these traits in my life. For example, instead of thinking “I need to love everyone,” I can think “I need to turn away from hate.” It feels so much more attainable when I think of it in that way.

 

Love.
Fight against hate and apathy.

Joy.
Say no to despair and discontent.

Peace.
Reject fear and anxiety.

Patience.
Don’t be easily provoked, or impatient.

Kindness.
Refuse to be rude or inconsiderate.

Goodness.
Be an enemy of evil behavior and cruelty.

Gentleness.
Avoid harshness and violence.

Faithfulness.
Despise disloyalty. Don’t give up.

Self-Control.
Choose not to be impulsive. Do battle against addiction, rage, and laziness.

 

While opposites don’t convey the complete mission we are given with these Fruits of the Spirit, they are a solid place to start. These are the things I am working toward today, with God’s spirit working in me.

The Freedom to Change My Mind

Lately, I’ve been discovering that I have the freedom to change my mind. Maybe this sounds weird to you. Of course I can change my mind, why wouldn’t I be able to?

Well, for me, I guess I have always felt that changing my mind was almost a form of lying. I’ve felt that when I make a decision, I should stick to it. I don’t want to be known as a person who just says things, and then doesn’t follow through. That’s a pet peeve of mine, in fact.

But lately, I’ve realized that sometimes, changing my mind is okay. It doesn’t mean I’m an unreliable person, it means I’m a changing person. I evolve, and grow, my situation changes, and so on. I am now embracing my freedom to change my mind!

It feels good.

I’ve changed my mind about two things, recently. One is kind of small, and the other is pretty big.

The small one was adopting a kitten. I have said many times that I didn’t want more than one cat. I have also said that I don’t need any more pets right now. And, I have said that I don’t ever want to adopt a kitten, because grown cats are better for several reasons. Well, I changed my mind. And it was a great decision!

I love my new kitten, Leo. He’s very outgoing, friendly, and affectionate. Every time I get a new pet, I feel that our family is more complete. Many people may not understand why I would want four dogs and two cats, especially when I already have two young children to look after. But I love pets! I find joy in taking care of them and providing them a good home. I love knowing that my children will grow up being comfortable around animals, including dogs of all sizes.

For now, we have to stop adding to our pets, simply because we cannot legally own any more dogs. The limit is four in our city. As for cats, we don’t have room in this house for a third litter box, so two is our maximum. And I am not comfortable housing small animals without providing them their own secure room, after what happened to the guinea pigs. So as long as we live where we do, we are at capacity.

But I am not going to say that there won’t be any more additions once we eventually move to a bigger home. We have a dream of moving to a ranch house and owning some livestock, and adding several more small animals to our family. Until then, I’m quite content with things as they are.

The bigger decision I recently changed my mind about is having more children. I said that after Abigail, I was done with pregnancy. But I still want at least one more baby, and something doesn’t feel right to me about adopting a newborn when I know that I am able to have children biologically. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with it, but I just don’t feel like it’s what we’re supposed to do. I still want to adopt older children later on, but right now, I’m not done with raising babies.

And truthfully, even though pregnancy is really hard for me, and birth is also challenging, it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’m not ready to be done with it. I want to do it again!

The one thing I want to do different for baby #3 is to wait until Abigail is done nursing before getting pregnant. I had to wean Cody before I was really ready (even though he was over two years old), because it was too painful to nurse when I became pregnant with Abigail. I convinced myself that I would nurse him again when the baby was born, but by that time, it didn’t feel right to go back and of course I never did nurse him again.

Also, being pregnant when he was that age, just barely done being a baby, was hard. I was detached from him because of my discomfort, and I feel like I missed that stage of his life. I feel like weaning and then my pregnancy really changed our relationship in a way I wasn’t ready for.

So, I want to avoid that this time around. As such, we are planning to wait until Abigail is about three years old to start trying to conceive. If she hasn’t weaned herself by then, I am comfortable weaning her when I get pregnant. Cody will also be six years old by the time I’m pregnant with baby #3, and that will make things a lot easier.

Right now, Cory is on board with having another baby, but he isn’t convinced about having a fourth. I will be 29 during my next pregnancy if all goes according to plan. I’d want a similar age gap between #3 and #4, and I don’t really care to have another baby past age 35, so that gives us a lot of time to decide what we want to do. Personally, I am hoping for four babies, but who knows what will happen. Only God, of course. 🙂

The future looks bright! I feel energized by looking ahead, planning, and dreaming. I’m discovering that giving myself the freedom to change my mind makes it even more fun. I am still on the adventure of life, discovering what God has for me.

Happy 10 Months Birthday, Abigail!

Little Abi is now 10 months old. It’s a fun age, but also a challenging one!

She takes two naps per day, about an hour give or take. Really, that’s not much for her age, but I’ll take what I can get.

She sleeps okay at night, sometimes only waking up a couple of times to nurse, but more often she wakes up frequently and is restless. I blame it on teething, because ibuprofen seems to help. Speaking of teething, she still doesn’t have a single tooth. They’re in hiding!

Abigail loves to explore. She crawls everywhere (always on her hands and knees now instead of her belly), climbs on things, pulls herself up to stand, and puts everything in her mouth. She can climb up the small slide we have in our play area by herself, on either end (ladder or slide). She climbs up the stairs any chance she gets. She keeps us on on our toes!

She is eating baby food, but only to supplement her primarily breastfed diet.

Her diaper rash has finally healed, and only has mild flare-ups now. The ointment that finally worked for us is called Triple Paste, and I am so thankful for it.

Abi gives “kisses” sometimes, involving putting her open mouth on my face (or Cory’s). It’s pretty cute, actually. Probably the cutest thing she does on a regular basis is playing peek-a-boo. She loves it when we play with her, but even when we’re doing other things, she’s constantly seeking out fabrics to use to cover her head and then pull them off, with a look of pure delight on her face. She will use clean laundry from the basket, the play scarves we have, or even the skirt of her dress. It’s super silly!

She is extremely clingy. She wants to be held pretty much all the time, but sometimes her desire to explore triumphs and we will get a few minutes of a break from holding her. A few times a day, I have to put her in her playpen and let her cry so I can take care of some basic needs for myself, Cody, or our many pets. It can be pretty stressful.

We wear her in the carrier often, too, but she tends to not like it when I wear her facing in unless she wants to sleep. It’s difficult to wear her facing out and get anything done, because she’s very grabby. So the carrier doesn’t help me much in that way, but it is often how we put her to sleep for naps or bedtime.

Abigail loves her brother, and they often make each other laugh just by looking at each other and being silly. She also enjoys patting the dogs when they’re not too rambunctious and overwhelming her. She especially loves following our new kitten, Leo, around the house as he explores. She tries to pet him, and our other cat Luna, but they usually move too fast for her to get a lot of pets in.

When daddy comes home from work, Abigail gets very excited and crawls to him so he will pick her up. But in general, she tends to want me to hold her. So when Cory is home, I often have to stay out of her sight in order to get things done, because as soon as she sees me she will start fussing and trying to get me to hold her.

Happy Eight and Nine Months Birthday, Abigail!

Oops! I totally spaced on Abi’s 8 month birthday update. Here’s what she’s been up to these past two months.

At eight months:
She is very clingy, and hardly lets me put her down without crying.
She sits up on her own regularly.
We stopped feeding her baby food, which we were only doing occasionally anyway, because solid foods seemed to cause worse diaper rash.
She loves to play with toys, and gets bored easily if she doesn’t have something to hold.
She crawls on her belly, gets around pretty fast, and tries to get into everything.
She sometimes gets up on her hands and knees.
She loves her bathtime, and will crawl to the tub when we start getting it ready.
She takes two to three naps her day.
She still weighs 18 pounds and is now in the 54th percentile for weight.

At nine months:
She pulls up to stand.
She likes to pinch! It hurts.
She is still very clingy to mom, and resists being held by others including dad. But, she eventually accepts it.
She takes two naps per day, often an hour or less.
She babbles and shrieks with excitement.
She can get back up to sitting from her belly.
She likes to steal my nursing pads, from inside my shirt. She specifically likes to take the paper backing off of the sticky part and try to eat it. The fact that she knows they are there even when she can’t see them shows that she’s starting to understand object permanence. Basically, she’s smart. 😉
She is starting to crawl more on hands and knees, instead of her belly.
She learned how to clap.
She weighs 18.8 pounds, which means she’s finally gained some weight after three months of gaining nothing. She’s now in about the 60th percentile, so just slightly above average. She still has the cutest, most delicious chunky thighs.

 

Judging Judges

Christians generally love to say that the Bible is a beautiful book, a love story, where Jesus is present throughout. And while I believe that it true in many respects, I also have to challenge the idea that the Bible is always encouraging and refreshing to those who read it. At times, it can be downright horrifying.

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament, and I recently finished the book of Judges. Throughout my time reading through this book and all of the previous books in the OT, I’ve struggled a lot with God’s Word. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of horrible things in these books; truthfully, I have found most of it to be either horrific or pointless in terms of applicability to modern life. Trudging through these sections has not been easy.

I’ve read about hundreds of thousands of human lives brutally taken, often in battles over territory, greed, or personal disputes. I’ve read about the slaughter of innocent children, and animals. I’ve read about rape, women being forced into “marriage,” incest, and prostitution. Many of these events were seemingly accepted, condoned, or even ordered by God. Frankly, I find it impossible to swallow.

What am I to make of all of this violence and disgusting human behavior? What am I to make of a God who not only allows, but at times instructs his followers to do such things?

The honest answer is that I don’t know. The honest answer is that I don’t understand.

And yet, I have chosen to continue to have faith in my God. I choose to trust in Jesus, who lived a life of love, and who died for love of me. I choose to trust in a God who has protected, guided, and provided for me all my life.

Sometimes, it seems that the God I know and the God of the Bible are two different people. But I know that the harder truth is that they are the same God; He is just a God that I do not fully understand, because I am human, and he is so far beyond me.

A God that cannot be put into simple terms actually makes perfect sense. If God was a human construct, he would be understandable, easy to put in a box. But God is not created by humans on our terms, we are created by Him on His terms. Sometimes (often), that means we don’t understand him.

My prayer today is that God can work in my heart and mind to help me surrender to the not-understanding. As a logical, thoughtful, reasoning type of person, I find this incredibly challenging. I am challenged to be humble, to accept that I can’t control God, or force him into my parameters of understanding. I must learn to surrender to him fully, to let go of my pride, to let go of my control.

Perhaps, for me, this is the whole purpose of these books in the Bible. They bring me to a place of surrender to God, a place where I must admit that I don’t have the answers. This is the place where I have to simply close my eyes and trust him. When I do, I know that I will find peace in my savior’s love. This is exactly where he wants me to be.

 

What’s Your Golden Cow?

What is the most important thing in your life? What do you spend your time, energy, thoughts, and money on? If you’re a Christian, is your answer Jesus? I think all of us have room to grow in this area, me included.

As believers, we are called to put God first in our lives. But what does that mean, in practical terms? This is a question I have wrestled with for a long time.

I believe that God places us where we are in life for a purpose, and that we are called to serve him right where we’re at. We don’t all need to be missionaries, preachers, worship leaders, or charity presidents to serve Jesus. We each have ministry opportunities all around!

Putting God first means that we are intentional about noticing our ministry opportunities. It means that we treat our roles in life as ministries, doing them to the best of our ability to honor God. We can serve God in any role: as a significant other, spouse, parent, family member, friend, co-worker, boss, employee, customer, neighbor, volunteer, and so on. All we have to do is treat others with love and kindness, putting others before ourselves, and we are automatically pleasing God.

Putting God first means that we strive to see all of the people around us the way God sees them; with love, and with the desire to draw them closer to Him.

Putting God first also means that we take time to nurture our relationship with Him. There should be nothing more valuable to a Christian than our relationship with Christ. How we treat that relationship is a reflection of our spiritual health.

Am I taking time to plant seeds of truth, wisdom, and understanding– from God’s word– in my heart and mind? Am I taking time to talk to God and listen– to pray? Am I taking time to learn about the ways of God from those called to teach? Am I taking time to worship him, both through music and through service? Am I taking time to develop and strengthen relationships with other believers, so we can support each other spiritually?

It breaks my heart when I see people who call themselves Christians but don’t have any daily interactions with God through the Bible and prayer, who don’t go to church, or who have no spiritual support system. They may or may not be believers in their hearts, but they certainly aren’t living the God-centered life that they have been called to. That is the life where the most blessings are experienced, both in this lifetime and for eternity. That is the life God wants for all of us! One that is deeply connected to Him.

Putting God first in our lives also means we cast aside any idols, or things that we may be tempted to make more important than Him. In our modern world, it may seem like idols don’t exist. But just because we aren’t making golden cows or statues to bow down to doesn’t mean we aren’t worshipping idols.

Many things can become idols in our lives. Even well-intentioned things can become more important to us than God, if we let them. Our significant others or spouses, our children, our families, our friends; we are called to love others deeply, but never more than God. Our education, our jobs, our success, our money; we are encouraged and enabled to do our best work and to prosper vocationally, but never to the detriment of loving and serving our God, and loving others. Our bodies, our fitness, our outward beauty; we are called to treat our bodies as a temple, but never to replace our pursuit of the eternal God with pursuits of this temporary world. All of these things and more can become idols. So what’s your golden cow? Perhaps it’s time to put that cow in its rightful place.

Is it time for a spiritual checkup? How are you doing in your walk with God?

I’d love to be a part of your spiritual support system. I know I certainly need more people in mine! If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, send me an email to let me know. Let’s share prayer requests, pray for each other, share our questions and insights into God and his word, and share each other’s burdens as brothers and sisters in Christ. I am here for you!

Let’s support each other in putting God first.

Happy Seven Months Birthday, Abigail!

In the beginning of this month, Abi turned seven months old. Our silly little girl is more than halfway to one!

At seven months, she is able to sit up on her own, but usually prefers laying on her belly. She hasn’t crawled yet, but she’s getting pretty close. She loves to play with toys or interesting objects, and gets bored easily. She’s not content to just sit and observe things, she wants to explore with her hands. Holding her while trying to do anything else is very difficult, because she grabs everything!

For a couple of weeks, she seemed close to night-weaning, meaning sleeping through the night without having to nurse. But unfortunately, all progress was lost soon after that, when she started nursing even more frequently than ever at night. Typically she nurses anywhere from three to six times per night. Thankfully, three is more common than six.

She has teething pain and other signs of teething (like soaking her shirt in drool) sporadically, as she has since about three months, but no teeth have emerged yet. We can see them under the skin on her bottom gum, so I expect them to come out soon, but they’ve really been taking their time!

Somewhat concerningly, she still weighs 18 lbs, which means she hasn’t gained any weight in the last month. But because she’s still quite a chunky baby, still in the 64th percentile (down from the 78th), and seems active and happy, we’re not too concerned. She grew so fast in the first 6 months of her life that she’s probably just “catching down.” 😉

Abigail loves her nightly bath. She gets excited when we say “bath” and when she sees the tub. She starts bouncing in our arms and gets the biggest smile on her face! It’s really cute. On the flip side, she generally hates her after-bath lotioning, and usually cries or fusses through the entire lotion-diaper-pajamas process. But after that drama, she happily nurses to sleep, and the world is right again.

Just after turning seven months, Abigail said “mama” for the first time! Now it seems to be her favorite word, and she uses it frequently to summon her milk slave. For the record, she did say “dada” first, at about six months. It’s up for debate whether she had the intention, or was just babbling, but she did say it a lot so it could easily be her true first word. Now that she’s also said “mama,” I’m more willing to give the first word award to “dada.” ;P (In all fairness, Cody’s first word was “mama,” so it’s a good balance that we each get one.)

At this age, Abi takes three naps; morning, afternoon, and night. Technically the last nap could be considered part of her nighttime sleep, but we wake her up before we all go to bed as a family in order to give her a bath and keep her eczema at bay. She sleeps about 9-10 hours at night (waking up on average four times to nurse).
She has stretches of being content playing on the floor or in her bouncer, as long as a parent is close by. She also has stretches of being very clingy and crying any time she’s put down. She never really has times when she cries inconsolably, and when she is fussy even while being held, it’s a sign she needs to nap. Typically, she goes down fairly easily for her naps.

As the weather is beginning to warm up, I am enjoying dressing her in little dresses and skirts, showing off those adorably chunky baby legs! Oh what fun to dress a baby girl.

Happy Six Months Birthday, Abigail!

{This is very belated, as I wrote it but didn’t get around to posting it until now!}

Abigail turned six months old last weekend. I can’t believe we’re already halfway to one year!

Abi is still wearing some size 9 months clothes, and she also wears some things that are size 12 months. She weighs 18 lbs, and is tall for her age (or I guess you would say “long” at this stage since she’s not standing.)

She doesn’t sit up on her own yet or crawl. She still mostly likes to get around by rolling, or by us carrying her. She does travel pretty far by rolling and wiggling, so maybe she doesn’t feel too motivated to try anything more just yet. She doesn’t like to lay on her back, and always rolls to her side or belly when we put her down. Diaper changes are a struggle because she fights to be on her belly!

The biggest change this month has been her desire to explore things with her hands. She is no longer content to just watch the action, she wants to grab it for herself! She loves to grab, shake, taste, and slam anything she can get her hands on. Anything we are doing while holding her will be targeted. Because of that, we can’t really do much else while holding her any more. No computer, paper books, or cooking. She also tends to wriggle around a lot while she’s being held, which makes it more of a two-arm job. And unfortunately, our easy baby has disappeared, as she now demands to be held for a majority of the day. I still wouldn’t consider her high-need, because in other ways she really isn’t, but I also wouldn’t call her “easy” any more.

Because of how heavy she is, I’ve found wearing her to be a bit uncomfortable and hard on my back. So I don’t typically spend a lot of time with her in the carrier, but it’s definitely still useful for outings, and Cory still wears her for hours each day. Personally, I prefer to hold her in my arms, which I find to be easier on my back. She also seems more content that way, because I can shift her position and try different things to keep her entertained.

She did her first reach to be held this month, something I always find cute. She reaches for both me and her dad, though she does have a preference for me sometimes. She’s had a couple of episodes of separation anxiety from me, but she’s also accepted other caregivers easily. We even went out on a date, and left her with a babysitter!

Abigail has always seemed to eyeball our food, so when our pediatrician said we could start trying to feed her baby food, I thought, “why not?” And as it turns out, she is a great eater! It’s such a new experience for me to spoon feed a baby food and have her actually swallow it and open her mouth for more. So far, we’ve tried sweet potatoes, pears, peas, bananas, carrots, and cereal. She’s liked all of them except for the pears and cereal, and she wasn’t as enthusiastic about the peas as she was with the others. But she really seems to love sweet potatoes, bananas, and carrots. It’s exciting to see her accepting fruits and veggies already, and it gives me hope that she will be a good eater as she grows up.

Of course for now, she’s still so young that I’m not looking to make solid foods a big part of her diet. I still believe breastmilk is best for the first year. I typically feed her just half of a jar of stage one baby food (which is a tiny jar to begin with), then finish it off the next day and wait a few days before feeding her another one. I like the idea of introducing a variety of foods to her, but as I said, nothing beats breastmilk for baby nutrition!

Speaking of which, she’s still a great nurser and my supply is great as usual. She nurses about every 3 hours or so, and typically two to three times during the night. She sleeps with us in our family bed, and we all go to bed at about 10 PM (although Abigail frequently falls asleep before that). Cory gets up with the kids, usually sometime between 6:30 and 7:30. Occasionally, Abigail and/or Cody will stay asleep with me until I get up at 8. That means generally, Abi sleeps for nine to eleven hours per night.

She takes two naps at fairly predictable times now. Her first nap is in the late morning, around 10:30 or so, and her second nap is usually in the mid afternoon, around 3:30 or so. It can vary by a couple of hours some days, but that’s the most common. Her naps are about an hour long on average, but they can also be longer. When teething is bothering her, she has trouble staying asleep for naps and is restless at night.

As for her eczema and diaper rash: we finally beat it! The eczema could flare up again without warning at any time, of course, but for now her skin is clear. We bathe her in just water (no soap) every other day, and follow that with a full-body lotioning. The diaper rash was finally cured when we got a prescription for a steroid cream. It took about two weeks for it to fully go away using that, but it’s finally gone. Unfortunately, ever since we stopped the steroid cream, the rash keeps trying to come back. We put a light layer of Aquaphor on her at every change, but we still notice redness appearing every few days. When we see it, we put on more steroid cream for a day or two, and that takes care of it. It’s frustrating to have to keep using that, though, because I know it’s not recommended to use it long-term. Her skin is just so darn sensitive, and doesn’t respond to anything else! But at least for now, it seems to be under control, and she’s not uncomfortable any more. Thank God!

So that’s about it! Abi is a happy, healthy baby, and just the sweetest little nugget. Those chunky cheeks and big blue eyes, and her adorable smile… they get me every time. <3